Allianz mulls pan-European pension fund
GERMANY - The insurance group Allianz is considering rolling out a pan-European pension fund but regulations could yet hinder the project.
Allianz wants to come to a decision by the end of the year on whether or not to go forward with the project which was mainly initiated by "an increasing number of requests for such a solution" especially by multinational companies, Thomas Groffmann, head of Allianz European Pensions, explained to IPE.
He added the final layout of the fund will have to be decided over the next months according to clients' wishes and regulatory possibilities.
"But it will not be restricted to pure asset pooling," Groffmann noted.
"The concept also includes a centralisation of main functions of a pension fund."
Allianz is already offering pan-European vehicles fit for asset pooling. (See earlier IPE article: AGI eyes wider European presence)
Groffmann pointed out there were "major obstacles because of regionally differing legal frameworks".
Allianz will therefore have to look at whether or not it is possible to create one vehicle which accounts for all these different regulations.
"We will only decide in the course of this year whether or not we will actually start the project," Groffmann stressed.
The pan-European fund is one of the first major project of the newly-created Allianz Global Life division which is part of Allianz SE.
It was created to boost the insurer's life insurance and pension business on an international level with new product ideas and solutions.
Earlier this year, the German Allianz Global Investors KAG had also created a sub-division called Pension Markets, which is focused on the German market. (See earlier IPE article: Allianz bundles German pension divisions)
"Allianz Global Life" is headed by Manuel Bauer, formerly chief executive of Allianz Life Insurance in Korea.
The new division recently launched what it hails as Europe's first variable annuities product which allows people to stay invested in funds even during the pension payout phase.